Yes, boys and girls, it’s that time of year again. The time we really don’t know anything about the way the mobile industry will be shaped, transformed and, hopefully, innovated over the ensuing eight to ten months.
Not for sure, though we can’t help but feel fired up for what’s to come. And speculate, and gossip, and engage in incessant rumormongering. Then, the world heavyweight title contenders go official, and comparisons galore.
Before long, the cycle reboots, and the rumor bonanza starts all over. It’s irritating in a way, yet it keeps us perennially busy and always looking forward to more, to better, to “the next big thing.” Speaking of, that’s what we want to tackle today. The Samsung Galaxy S6. The highly anticipated sequel to an underwhelming faux pioneer.
And its trend-setting, “edgy” sibling. Trend-setting or gimmicky? Let’s see what the rumor mill has to say about it, and we’ll think it through:
Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge preview – design and functionality
Yes, and functionality. For once, we don’t care awfully much what build materials Samsung is going with. Not as far as the Edge is concerned. We’re interested in the execution, and how the dual side screens around the main, central display aim to improve the user experience.
It’s said they’ll be capable of pushing various notifications, similar to the single such perimeter on the Note Edge, as well as pull some neat new tricks, like lighting up upon receiving calls and whatnot. A higher degree of customization is certainly on deck, and right-hand users and lefties can program which of the two to primarily work with.
The standard S6? It’ll either be full-metal, and follow in the footsteps of the Galaxy A3, A5 and A7, or settle merely for an aluminum strip a la the Galaxy Alpha and Note 4. If the latter turns out to be true though, metal will blend together with glass, not plastic, so either way, this baby should be quite the looker and leave the “polycarbonate” age decidedly behind it.
Processor dilemmas: Snapdragon 810 or Exynos 7420… or both?
According to a recent Digitimes report, the overheating glitches of the S810 Qualcomm wouldn’t be caught dead corroborating could lead to Samsung initially selling Exynos and Snapdragon S6 variants on a 90-10 percent split. As in, 90 percent would pack Exynos, and only 10 Snapdragon.
The goal is then to gradually bring the numbers closer and ultimately crank up S810-powered GS6 production to surpass Exynos models as the former CPU mends its flaws. Sounds reasonable, however Bloomberg just debunked the theory, saying there will be no Qualcomm-based Galaxy S6 flavor. Period, end of story.
Ominous scenario for the global leader in mobile chip supplying, but maybe not so bad for us end users. As long as Sammy can yield enough 7420s, odds are they’ll be more frugal than and at least equally as zippy as S810s. Also, 64-bit-supporting, and octa-core, on big.LITTLE architecture.
Screen size and resolution, RAM and cameras
The Galaxy S3 is 4.8 inches, the S4 bumped that up to a cool 5, the S5 unnoticeably added another 0.1 inch on top, so it makes perfect sense for the S6 and S6 Edge to follow the same trend, and stop just outside of phablet territory, at 5.2 inches.
With Quad HD, aka 2,560 x 1,440 pixels, resolution, producing roughly 565 ppi density. And a better screen-to-body ratio, hopefully, as 69.6 percent is no longer good enough with the LG G3 sitting at an impressive 75.3%.
Speaking of not good enough, 3 GB RAM. As outlandish as it sounds, the age of 4 GB memory smartphones is upon us, and Samsung might be forced to match LG, Asus and Meizu there to preserve its cutting-edge reputation.
It’s entirely possible some S6 versions will come with 3 gigs in tow, and others with 4, or we could see the S6 Edge opt for the latter, and the “normal” S6 for the former.
Rear camera megapixel count seems a given at 20 across the board, and it only remains to be seen if optical image stabilization will also be offered. We figure yes, and for selfie addicts, a 5 MP front snapper should do, as long as it’s intelligently optimized.
Software, battery capacity, storage and other features
“Project Zero” is reportedly how Samsung’s engineers codenamed the in-progress Galaxy S6, and aside from a new design language, a drastic change should see TouchWiz heavily subdued. We never thought we’d say this, but a near-stock Android-running, non-Google Play Edition Galaxy S is on the way. With Lollipop pre-installed, of course.
The battery is a huge question mark at the moment, with absolutely no hint on size surfaced online, but what’s almost certain (and extremely vexing) is we’re looking at a sealed, non-user-removable cell.
16 GB is ergo to be scrapped from the internal storage configurations, which will instead start at 32 and possibly cap off at as much as 128 gigs. Unless somehow Samsung allows external expansion sans access to the battery.
Meanwhile, an attractive S5 feature that’s tipped to be lacking from S6’s bag of goodies is the IP67 certification for water and dust resistance. The fingerprint scanner should stay in place, and gain touch-based authentication, and sound quality might be improved too, albeit the specifics are unclear.
Release date and pricing preview
Since the pre-MWC introduction(s) in the early stages of March is a near guarantee, all that’s left to be revealed is the ETA on store shelves. Or rather ETAs, because we highly doubt the S6 and S6 Edge are to enjoy simultaneous, swift launches.
For that matter, you shouldn’t hold your breath for a very wide-scale S6 Edge rollout, as the curvy handheld is still deemed a limited, extravagant experiment. Possibly priced at $900 or so outright.
The non-edge S6? It’ll probably see daylight within a month of its announcement, if everything goes according to plan with CPU mass manufacturing, and cost $600 to $700 off-contract, and between $200 and $300 with two-year Verizon, AT&T and Sprint pacts.
A steal? A little on the expensive side? Just right to turn S5’s ill fortunes around? It all depends on the as-yet unconfirmed details. 3 or 4 GB RAM? Snapdragon 810 or Exynos 7420? MicroSD or no microSD? All-metal or also glass to balance things out? The answers to those questions could be the difference between hit and flop for Samsung’s Galaxy S6. Stay tuned.